The 15 Best Pore Vacuums, According to Editors and Experts

Pretty please proceed with caution.

best pore vacuums, including pmd and dermaflash pore vacuums
(Image credit: Future)

Comedones are wild. Seriously—think about it. All this gunk (read: dead skin cells, oil, leftover makeup) just gathers together, decides to clog up your pores, and eventually turns black—or, if pus and inflammation also decide to join the party, turns white. The best blackhead removers and acne spot products can certainly help create a clearer complexion over time, but the best pore vacuums may come in handy if you’re looking for a quick-fix-meets-deep-clean. “Pore vacuums use a gentle suction force to pull out debris, oil, and dead skin cells clogged in pores,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Brendan Camp. “They can help improve the appearance of skin and minimize the appearance of pore size.” 

In short: Pore vacuums work—and are oddly satisfying (don’t judge, please and thanks). That said, they need to be used with an ~extreme~ abundance of caution. Technique is key, patience is going to be a virtue, and sensitive skin is unwelcome. Most importantly, using a well-vetted pore vacuum tool is key. Otherwise, you can be left with broken blood vessels, irritation, and a heck of a lot of redness. To make sure your purchase is up to par, we’re sharing our tried-and-tested recommendations and all the info you need to know about using the tool.

What to Look For

Multiple Levels of Suction

Let me say this loud and clear: Customizability is key. Different areas of the skin can handle different levels of suction—it's not a one-size-fits-all situation. As such, you'll likely want to select a pore vacuum that has a variety of settings. "The greater the level of suction, the more likely you are to damage blood vessels leading to bruising," says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner. "Areas of thin skin, like the neck and skin around the eyes are especially susceptible to trauma. Areas of thicker skin, like the nose, can tolerate higher suction levels."

Variety of Tips 

You're going to notice that a decent chunk of options on the market come complete with a singular base and a multitude of tip attachments. There's a good reason for all the add-ons. "Different shape tips allow you to use the device in different parts of the face," says Dr. Zeichner. A more narrow tip would be ideal for the sides of the nostrils, while a larger tip could be used along the forehead. Some pore vacuums will also come with microdermabrasion tips, which "offer gentle exfoliation along with suction benefits."  

Spatula Design 

While most pore vacuums are going to operate with suction, it's worth calling out spatula devices, which sit just adjacent to pore vacuums, are probably preferable for sensitive skin types. According to Dr. Zeichner, they "offer gentle vibrations and can help remove blockages within the pores with gentle pressure that you control."

Which Skin Types Should Use Pore Vacuums

Pore vacuums are not for everyone, nor are they for every type of pimple. “Patients with sensitive skin may want to use a pore vacuum with caution,” warns Dr. Camp. Use can lead to irritation, inflammation, or broken blood vessels, especially in people who have rosacea.  "You also have to be careful if you have any sort of bleeding disorder or bruise easily," says Dr. Zeichner. "Do not use the devices if you have any open or raw skin or active skin issues like eczema."

Pore vacuums are ideal for people who have oily or acne-prone skin, specifically those with blackheads or whiteheads that are already at a head. “These devices are best used on comedones once they have developed,” Dr. Camp adds. “Those with more inflammatory acne, such as pustules and cystic lesions, will need a different form of treatment.” 

What Are the Risks of Using a Pore Vacuum?

The most common issue when using a pore vacuum: Skin irritation and redness, which is why sensitive skin types should steer clear. “Pore vacuums can exacerbate existing skin conditions like acne or rosacea,” explains Dr. Camp. “It can also cause discoloration in the form of hyperpigmentation, which can take a long time to resolve.” Pore vacuums can even lead to superficially dilated blood vessels, or telangiectasias. That’s why it’s important to start out slow and consult with your dermatologist if you have concerns. 

The Best Pore Vacuums

Every pore vacuum on this list has been vetted by Marie Claire's Beauty Editor, Samantha Holender (hi, yes, me) and Marie Claire's Beauty Director, Deena Campbell; hand-selected by a board-certified dermatologist; or recommended by an industry professional. Each device is highly rated by reviewers, has a customizable design that allows you to tailor it to your skin type and concerns, and lives up to its claims. While pore vacuums certainly aren’t for everyone (lookin’ at you, sensitive skin) and the best option is largely dependent on your skin type and concerns, we feel confident that every tool on this list delivers results. For further guidance or if you have any concerns, check with your board-certified dermatologist. 

How Does a Pore Vacuum Work?

In the same way that a real vacuum will suck up dust from the floor, a pore vacuum will suck up pore-clogging materials. “Pore vacuums usually have three levels of suction that work like a vacuum for your pores,” explains Jamie O’Banion. “The suction power increases with each level, so you can customize your treatment based on what’s best for your skin.” In the end, your whiteheads should be de-pused and your pores should be cleaner and look smaller. 

How Do I Use a Pore Vacuum?

Whatever you, don’t just turn on the power button and go to suction town. Bad idea. You’ll want to read the instructions uber-carefully, as they’ll differ from tool to tool. The key to a successful treatment? “Always keep the tool moving and avoid hovering over a singular spot,” advises O’Banion. “If a tool is left on a single area, it can cause redness as circulation is pulled to that area.” 

How Long Will It Take to See Results?

The suction should take care of whiteheads in one treatment, but you might need to be patient on the blackhead front. It can take time to dislodge all the gunk. That said, Dr. Camp feels that “if your acne is not responding to at-home treatments and you find yourself turning to your pore vacuum often, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist who will help you establish a better understanding of the cause of your acne and develop a treatment plan.” 

Meet the Experts

jamie o'banion
Jamie O'Banion

Jamie O'Banion is the CEO and founder of BeautyBio, a clean-clinical skincare brand focused on science-backed solutions. She was recently featured in Forbes as one of four female entrepreneurs to watch in their issue highlighting the most successful female entrepreneurs in America.

dr. brendan camp
Dr. Brendan Camp

Brendan Camp, MD, is double board-certified in dermatology and dermatopathology and sees patients at MDCS Dermatology: Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, which has locations in Upper East Side, Hampton Bays, Commack, Smithtown, Plainview, and Midtown East of Manhattan, New York. Patients have been coming to him for his expertise managing medical conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, warts, psoriasis, moles, and skin cancer, as well as cosmetic concerns and treatments with Botox®, fillers, lasers, and other skin rejuvenation devices. Dr. Camp graduated with honors from Cornell University, earning a degree in biochemistry. As a medical student at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, he participated in a one-year epidemiology fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, where he participated in viral outbreak investigations. He completed his internship in internal medicine at the University of Chicago and later completed additional residency training in dermatology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. He also completed a fellowship in dermatopathology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 2012. He has previously served as an assistant professor of dermatology at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and worked in private practice just outside Washington DC in Northern Virginia. Dr. Camp is the author of several scientific articles that have been published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, the Journal of Cutaneous Pathology, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. He has also presented at meetings of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Society of Dermatopathology, and the Society for Investigative Dermatology. Additionally, he is a reviewer for the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology Case Reports, a member of the Curriculum Task Force and previous member of the Public Education Committee of the American Academy of Dermatology, and a contributor to Men’s Health magazine.

Dr. Joshua Zeichner
Dr. Joshua Zeichner

As the Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital's Department of Dermatology, Dr. Zeichner has a broad interest in medical and cosmetic dermatology as well as clinical research. His specialty is the treatment of acne, as well as the cosmetic rejuvenation of the aging face. Dr. Zeichner treats general skin conditions, including eczema, rosecea, psoriasis, and skin cancer. In addition, he is well-versed in the use of Botox and dermal fillers, as well as lasers and chemical peels.